It’s Okay To Be Forgotten

Credit: Nicola Gypsicola

So many people (myself included) are working damn hard to achieve “significance.” We’re trying to do stuff that will make us remembered by the world. We want to cement our legacy of having changed the world, like Steve Jobs, Amelia Earhart, Gandhi, or Oprah.

But the issue I have with this is that I don’t think any of those people were actually trying to be known by the world. I could be wrong on that, but the point remains: is being remembered the important part?

Has anyone ever heard of Willis Carrier?

I hadn’t, but apparently, he invented modern air conditioning in 1902.

Or what about James Harrison? Remember who that is?

Me neither, but he is an 80-year-old Australian man who has saved over two million babies by donating his rare blood every two to three weeks.

If you don’t know him, then you might also not know Miriam Daniel Mann, who was one of the “Hidden Figures”, or black female mathematicians who helped advance NASA’s missions during the space race to the moon.

The point here is that it’s okay to be forgotten. These last three people were forgotten, but what they contributed has lived on. Even though we don’t know their names today, we have been influenced by what they’ve done.

This was an astounding realization for me because it means my life isn’t even about me. It’s about what I can create with and for others through the gifts I’ve been given.

I can do that, and it takes a lot of pressure away too. I can be forgotten by everyone (except, hopefully my loved ones). But as long as I understand what I’m good at, act on that, and do it for the benefit of others, something I create could positively influence thousands in the future, maybe even more.

Question(s) of the day:

  • Are you trying hard to be remembered, to achieve significance?
  • What impact could you create in the world that would make you okay with being forgotten?

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